For a man about to give birth to a new show, Jay Leno definitely doesn’t look preggers. In fact, he’s actually slim and trim as he proudly displayed at NBC’s fall line-up press tour in Pasedena, CA in August. Opening his suit jacket twice he declared at one point, “I’ve been running four miles every day. I’ve lost twelve pounds.”
However, the talk show host does have the weight of the network on his shoulders whether he – or NBC – is ready to admit it. The risky gamble to give up scripted television programming during the 10 o’clock hour where mega-rating hits such as ER once reigned — not to mention competing against current hits such as CSI Miami — for the new The Jay Leno Show had him hounded by reporters. In fact, after a Q&A session, two actually tripped while trying to get to him.
Breezy Mama asked Jay directly how he felt about the press’s reaction to him having been given the nightly primetime spot and, after shrugging his shoulders, he responded, “I guess it’s just a slow news day. It’s summer so there’s not really any other stories. I guess that’s what makes it interesting.”
As far as how he handled crowds of reporters pushing their way to get to him with their digital recorders swarming his face, he joked, “This part is fun. You know what I like about this part? I used to love the old movies where a guy would say, ‘Hey, Jay, how about a story?’ And he’d say [backing up, raising his hands], ‘Hey, take it easy fellas, take it easy.’ I always think of those old movies [laughs]. Then they put the mic [in your face] and the flashbulbs — I used to love that stuff [laughs].”
NBC’s Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, said, “Research shows that people want more comedy.” However, she was coy on how they will judge whether this particular new format is a hit and claimed they will view the 52-week cumulative ratings to determine its overall success with viewers.
Jay himself joked if taking over a primetime slot night after night doesn’t go well, when people ask what he’s been up to after leaving The Tonight Show in the number one ratings spot, he’ll simply say, “Not much.”
With Rihanna, Kanye West and Jay Z set to appear on the September 14 premier, the show — which will generally host one to two guests nightly, feature a Green Car Challenge with celebs such as Tom Cruise already calling to ask to participate, and include taped correspondence with D.L. Hughley, Brian Williams and Rachel Harris as well as nightly musical acts — will likely get off to a great start right out of the birthing gate. In fact, Jay may not even need an epidural.
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